I've just finished listening to the latest episode (great as always Orgs), and Anne-Marie's comment about the similarity to the so-called Phoney War mirrors some of my own thoughts during this watch through; but I do have one question:
Did they introduce the Dominion threat too early?
Allow me to expand on that, or possibly even contradict it - once I get rambling not even I know where I'll end up!
Clearly the production team wanted to end the previous season on a bang, quite literally! (I'm not sorry another Galaxy went down) They then wanted to start the season with something to get you hooked from the get go, and boy did they.
However since that time, except for Hugh 2, there has been only passing mention of the Dominion, with it almost feeling like these episodes are filler. That's not to say that all of the episodes in that gap have been poor - clearly not - but there has been no evidence on screen of any Federation response to the Dominion threat outside of transferring the USS Hideki to Terok Nor - and even that promptly gets relegated to the status of Sisko's personal runabout.
Even if this is the Phoney War period with the civilians returning because "hey no-ones blown anything up yet", Starfleet should at least be assembling a token fleet next to the wormhole just in case.
To put this in real world terms for those unaware of the history, even though Chamberlain (Prime Minister before Churchill) had his bit of paper to wave (the "agreement" that Germany would not go to war) the three services still carried on rebuilding. Men were still recruited in higher numbers, weapon building programmes got into full swing and everyone just sort of braced themselves.
If the show was following purely civilians, then fine, but since it follows the "military" personnel it would be really nice to get some episodes that, if not feature, then reference the build up of forces. Maybe "marines" being transferred to the station, a couple of extra vessels permanently in the area, that sort of thing.
Instead we see them wasting time turning an ore processing plant into some sort of deuterium plant as if it were that simple. I beg somebody to take a few barrels of water to an iron smelters and ask them to distil some heavy water. Please. Because according to DS9 writers you can use the same machinary for both.
Perhaps I'm being biased and want to see more starship porn, but I simply feel there would be more tension, and the threat more real, if there was a continual build up during the series rather than “OMG! Look at what they did to a ship just like the Enterprise D” and then almost nothing for a while.
I’ll stop waffling now.
From what I remember, the fact we don't hear anything from the Dominion for a bit gets explained, but I'm with you when it comes to wondering whether we shouldn't be seeing more from Starfleet in terms of preparing for potential conflict.
Issuing the station with a single experimental starship, which as you point out, then gets used as Sisko's personal ride for the following episodes, seems a bit feeble. Maybe it's due to Starfleet not having a military mind-set, but instead focusing on scientific exploration- that would certainly explain the risky trip to the Gamma Quadrant going ahead in Meridian.
I guess we won't be able to fully judge until we've got further into the season.
Even when Churchill declared war, it was some time before the civilian population in Britain felt any difference - hence the term phoney war -so a phoney Dominion war makes sense in terms of civilian population on DS9.
The good Legate is right, though, that even before war was declared the military were building & recruiting so we ought to be seeing evidence of this - even if you argue a build up at the mouth of the wormhole could be considered provocative they would build up elsewhere and also covertly on DS9 and there should be references to this both visually and in dialogue. And the defiant should not leave the sector let alone go on jollies exploring enemy territory to explore it.
Actually it was Chamberlain in the hot seat on 3rd September 1939, but yes, between the formal declaration of war and the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from France the general public were not really affected by the war. Here endeth the history lesson.
I think i'm just getting impatient for the big fleet actions.